RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina has officially moved into Phase 3 of reopening, which is great news for many businesses across the state.

Gov. Roy Cooper announced plans to move the state into Phase 3 during a news conference Wednesday. The move officially took place at 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 2.

Phase 3 is currently scheduled to last until October 23.

During Wednesday's news conference, the governor and NCDHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen said the state's COVID-19 metrics have remained stable in September and warranted moving forward. In addition to the metrics, Cooper said the state is also continuing to build adequate means to respond to an increase in virus spread, including testing, tracing, and prevention. 

Both officials cautioned however, that residents must continue taking steps to help limit the spread of the virus.

“We must continue our hard work to slow the spread of this virus,” Cohen said. “By practicing the 3 W's — wear, wait and wash, — getting your flu shot, and downloading the SlowCOVIDNC app, each of us can protect the progress we have made.” 

“Our top priority remains getting children back to in-person learning. This month marks a major shift for many families now and in the coming months as schools open their doors, some for the first time since the pandemic,” Cooper said. “The virus continues to spread, so we must take the next steps methodically, and responsibly.”

Under Executive Order 169, current mask mandates and other precautions will remain in place, but new provisions will include:

  • Large outdoor venues with seating greater than 10,000 may operate with 7% occupancy for spectators. 
  • Smaller outdoor entertainment venues, like arenas or amphitheaters, may operate outdoors at 30% of outdoor capacity, or 100 guests, whichever is less. 
  • Movie theaters and conference centers may open indoor spaces to 30% of capacity, or 100 guests, whichever is less.
  • Bars may operate outdoors at 30% of outdoor capacity, or 100 guests, whichever is less. 
  • Amusement parks may open at 30% occupancy, outdoor attractions only. 
  • The limits on mass gatherings will remain at 25 people indoors and 50 people outdoors. 
  • The 11 p.m. curfew on alcohol sales for in-person consumption in locations such as restaurants and outdoor bars will be extended to October 23. 

More information on EO169 and Phase 3 can be found here.